The coaching change comes in time for Rivers to help the Bucks get through the trade deadline, and it’s possible that Milwaukee will look to add some pieces before time runs out.
But if the Bucks try to strike a deal with the Portland Trail Blazers for fifth-year pro Matisse Thybulle, there are no guarantees that the 26-year-old will allow such a deal to go through, in the eyes of one insider.
Worth keeping in mind: Matisse Thybulle (mentioned in here as Bucks trade target) has veto rights over any deal for the first year because he had an RFA offer sheet matched.
I don't think he's signing off on a trade to Milwaukee in light of the coaching hire they just made. https://t.co/E9f6zddyv6
— Sean Highkin (@highkin) January 24, 2024
NBA insider Jake Fischer recently linked Thybulle to the Bucks, who reportedly are exploring options to upgrade their perimeter defense.
“The combined $12.5 million salary between [Pat] Connaughton and [Cameron] Payne would put Milwaukee in position to land several targets, such as Portland wing Matisse Thybulle and [Los Angeles] Clippers forward P.J. Tucker, sources said,” wrote Fischer.
During Thybulle’s stint with the Philadelphia 76ers, he sometimes got inconsistent playing time at the hands of Rivers, who was Philly’s head coach for a good chunk of Thybulle’s run there.
The wing may want to avoid a reunion with Rivers, even if it means turning down an opportunity to join a contending team like the Bucks. Of course, that’s far from a sure thing, but it may be a possibility worth keeping in mind.
Thybulle is averaging 5.5 points, 2.0 rebounds and 1.1 assists per game this season while shooting 41.5 percent from the field and 36.7 percent from deep. He has earned All-Defensive honors twice in his NBA career, making him a solid asset on that end of the floor. He’s currently in his second season with the Blazers.
Rivers is taking over a unique situation in Milwaukee, as the expectation will be for him to take the squad to the promised land. With Giannis Antetokounmpo and Damian Lillard in the fold, the Bucks are talented enough to go all the way, and they have the second-best record in the Eastern Conference this season at 30-13.
Meanwhile, the Blazers likely aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, as they’re one of the worst teams in the Western Conference at 12-31. Portland is in the midst of a rebuild, and it’ll be interesting to see how long Thybulle sticks around. He’s under contract through next season and has a player option on his deal for the 2025-26 campaign.
The trade deadline is set for Feb. 8 this season, leaving teams with a couple more weeks to make deals before time runs out.